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Category: Asset 3Arts & Leisure

Love it or hate it, it’s time again for Rhubarb

May 9, 2018

By

It’s Rhubarb season once more. Photo by Margaret Johnson

 

IRELAND HOPPING/By Margaret M. Johnson

 

 

Some folks actually look forward to rhubarb season, a brief period in spring when the tart, bitter vegetable (yes, botanically a vegetable although it’s treated like a fruit) makes its annual appearance.

Because of its unusually sour taste, rhubarb is generally paired with a sweet fruit – most often strawberries or raspberries – for balance and for another flavor combo. Appearing in pies, jams, syrups, soufflés, sauces and crumbles, rhubarb is a delightful springtime treat to enjoy in recipes like these from my cookbooks. To view or order, visit www.irishcook.com

 

STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB CRUMBLE

SERVES 6 TO 8

A crumble, perhaps the world’s easiest dessert, is made with little more than fresh fruit sweetened with a little sugar, thickened with a little flour, and topped with a crumbly mixture of butter, oatmeal, flour and, sometimes, nuts. For another twist, you can use Irish digestive biscuits (such as McVitie’s or Carr’s brand) in the topping instead of the more widely used bread crumbs or oatmeal. This is delicious with vanilla ice cream, clotted cream, or crème fraîche.

For the filling

5 to 6 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup sugar

For the topping

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/2 cup crumbled digestive biscuits

  1. Make filling. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly butter a 9-inch square glass baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries, and cornstarch; stir to coat the fruit. Transfer to prepared pan and sprinkle with sugar.
  3. Make topping. Combine flour, sugar, and butter in a food processor. Pulse 3 to 4 times, or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in crumbled biscuits. Sprinkle over fruit and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until top is browned and crisp and fruit is tender. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, clotted cream, or crème fraîche.

 

RASPBERRY-RHUBARB CRUMBLE CAKE

SERVES 10 TO 12

This very moist, rich cake with a crispy crumble topping is delicious for breakfast, teatime, or dessert. Serve it plain or with whipped cream or crème fraîche.

For the topping

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

4 large eggs, beaten

For the cake

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs, beaten

3/4 cup self-rising flour

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup milk

1 cup ground almonds

1 cup chopped rhubarb

1 cup blackberries

  1. Make topping. Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with flour; tap out excess.
  2. In a small bowl, combine butter, sugars and cinnamon; whisk in eggs. Set aside.
  3. Make cake. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then beat in flour, salt and milk. With a wooden spoon, stir until soft dough forms.
  4. Transfer batter to prepared pan, sprinkle almonds on top, and then sprinkle rhubarb and blackberries over nuts. Pour topping over fruit.
  5. Bake for 70 to 75 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes before releasing sides of pan. Slice and serve with whipped cream or crème fraîche, if desired.

 

CREAM CHEESE POUND CAKE WITH ROASTED RHUBARB

SERVES 8 TO 10

Pound cake is one of those reliable cakes that every culture seems to embrace because it goes well with everything. For an unusual springtime topping, try a slice with this roasted rhubarb and a dollop of whipped cream.

For the cake

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

6 large eggs

2¼ cups g all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the roasted rhubarb

3-4 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange

1/2 cup sugar

  1. Make cake. Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a 10-inch tube or bundt pan and dust with flour; tap out excess.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar, and then beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and vanilla and beat on medium-low for 2 to 3 minutes, or until blended.
  3. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean.
  4. Make rhubarb. Mix fruit, orange zest, juice, and sugar in an ovenproof dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake alongside cake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender. Remove rhubarb and cake from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert cake onto a rack and then return to upright and let cool completely.
  5. To serve, cut cake into slices and spoon rhubarb on top. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page now includes “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” For further details on her work, including how to order her cookbooks, visit www.irishcook.com

 

 

 

 

 

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